A Church That Moves

Made from ACRYLITE® acrylic and wood, the Church of Light is no ordinary church. Having no fixed location, it is the church that comes to you. The structure has been around for over ten years and it is still going as strong as ever.

While you might recognize it as a church straight away, there is one thing that makes it truly unique: it isn’t made out of stone or concrete like other churches; it is made out of wood and ACRYLITE® acrylic . In the daylight, the bright building is open and inviting. But what is really striking is how the church stands out in the darkness, with colorful LEDs lighting up the ACRYLITE® Satinice acrylic façade.

A church at eye level

The luminous building is easily visible from the street. It is more or less built at ground level, just behind a small platform for worshipers. In front is a lawn where chairs are set up when the weather allows. "Thanks to the open nature of the church, we have close contact with the people and receive direct feedback from them," says minister Mareike Frahn-Langenau. "Because people simply come by, their visits are more spontaneous than they would be at other church buildings."

The church at the state horticultural show

The church was at the Hesse state horticultural show in Bad Schwalbach, Germany, where the lightly-colored building blends perfectly into the surrounding greenery.

© EKHN/Photographer: Matthais Hartmann

The church at the state horticultural show

The lightly-colored plywood and translucent ACRYLITE® Satinice give the building a certain airy feel. The frosted acrylic is very durable and resistant to scratches which is important to prevent wear and tear. Thus, the material is still as good as new after setting up and dismantling the building countless times over the past ten years.

© EKHN/Photographer: Simba Burgdorf

The church at night

The illuminated church reveals its true splendor at night, when LEDs light up the building. The ACRYLITE® Satinice acrylic scatters the light evenly across the entire surface.

© EKHN/Photographer: Christian Weise

The church at night

Using LED technology, the church can be lit up in an array of colors.

© EKHN/Photographer: Matthias Hartmann

When the weather takes a turn for the worse, up to 40 people can be accommodated inside the building. The church interior is flooded with light thanks to the ACRYLITE® Satinice sheets positioned between 14 timber frames to form the roof and walls. The structure is built on a gravel base under a steel grid, which in turn is filled with concrete blocks. This allows the 14 timber frames to be fastened securely.

A mobile events center

The idea for the Church of Light stems from previous events, including the state fair and major church festivals. "Before we had the unique structure, we used to hold those kinds of events in tents or local churches. But then at some point, we were motivated to build something of our own that would be recognized as a church," the minister continues. And so, a competition was held for students, which is where the idea for the design came from. The architecture firm raum-z architekten was then commissioned to construct the 43 foot-long, 14 foot-wide, and 26 foot-high building.

A joint effort

The Church of Light is a temporary construction that is used for prayer and worship, music and dancing, and a wide range of cultural events.

Permanently stunning

It has now been ten years. In that time, the church has been set up and dismantled numerous times at a variety of locations, even at the state fair and the IAA International Automobile Exhibition. "Setting up the church runs like clockwork," says Frahn-Langenau. "The ground on which it sits needs to be prepared before the church can be erected." It takes a whole week to set up it up each time. Sometimes it stays in one place for a few days, other times it is there for several weeks, as is the case at the state horticultural show. "The ACRYLITE® Satinice acrylic will not yellow and is very robust. The wind and rain, and the frequent set-up and dismantling hasn’t hurt it in any way," the minister continues. "It is still in great shape."

This is Frahn-Langenau’s first time as minister of the church. In addition to its open atmosphere, she especially loves the way the church looks at night. "In the daytime, the lightly-colored materials are what stand out, but come night-time, it’s an entirely different story."

That is the time for the LEDs to shine. They are integrated into the floor and illuminate the ACRYLITE® Satinice. It lets the light through but it is not completely transparent. The surfaces give a warm and mellow feel. "The ACRYLITE® allows the light to penetrate really well. It looks absolutely stunning in the evening," explains the minister.  

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